Alabama soccer squeaks out a win against Kentucky on Senior Night

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s soccer team has played in a lot of close games this season, and Thursday night was no different. Alabama (9-7-1, 4-3-1) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (6-9-2, 0-8) in overtime, 2-1.

The Wildcats remain winless in the Southeastern Conference this season.

Kentucky struck first in the 14th minute off of a breakaway goal by midfielder Marissa Bosco. Bosco’s fourth goal of the season gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 advantage.

For the next 20 minutes, the Crimson Tide struggled to build momentum. It seemed that every time they touched the ball, they gave it back to Kentucky.

Then, it began to pour in the Alabama Soccer Complex. The rain sparked the Crimson Tide.

Alabama midfielder Reyna Reyes scored her third goal of the season in the 36th minute off of a free kick by midfielder Felicia Knox. Knox found defender Tanna Sanchez-Carreto who tapped it to Reyes. That goal tied the match heading into halftime.

Play got wacky in the second half.

In the 65th minute, Kentucky was one-on-one with McKinley Crone, but the shot smacked off of the right post and out of play.

Two minutes later, the Wildcats wanted a handball in the box called on Alabama, but none of the referees made a call.

In the 70th minute, Alabama midfielder Macy Clem scored the go-ahead goal, but it was wiped off the board for offsides.

A few possessions later, Alabama forward Ashlynn Serepca hit the crossbar on a shot attempt.

After a sequence where it looked like the ball went out of bounds, the Wildcats fired a shot on goal that hit one of the wheels on the goal. Kentucky got a corner kick.

If that wasn’t enough to upset the fans, an Alabama shot on goal in the 84th minute hit the hand of a Kentucky defender in the box. Once again, head referee Shane Butler disagreed.

Both teams entered the overtime period feeling like they were robbed of a victory.

The match was won just over a minute into overtime when midfielder Kat Rogers played a pass off of her back heel to forward Riley Tanner. Tanner fired the ball through the net to give Alabama the walk-off win.

It was Tanner’s second game-winning goal of the season, with the other coming against Missouri in the 85th minute.

“Riley has been outstanding,” said Alabama head coach Wes Hart. “Unfortunately for her and us, she missed several games early in the season with an ankle injury. But since she’s returned, she’s been a major impact player for us. She is so incredibly dynamic on the dribble. Very few teams have had an answer for her.”

The victory for the Crimson Tide secures its spot in the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama. The tournament starts on Oct. 31. 

“Very happy that we clinched a spot at Orange Beach with two games to spare,” Hart said. “Takes a little bit of pressure off of us. Now we focus on climbing up the standings to the top six to ensure a first round bye.”

The Crimson Tide has two matches remaining before Orange Beach.

Alabama’s next match is Sunday, Oct. 24 in Columbia, South Carolina, against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The match is scheduled for noon CT on ESPNU.